MR, Basil won’t leave country till midday today

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Counsel appearing on behalf of former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa gave an undertaking before the Supreme Court yesterday (14) that the two former Ministers will not leave the country until the motion filed, seeking an interim relief, restraining them and three others from travelling abroad is taken up on the next date.

This was when the Motion, filed by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) and three others, before the Supreme Court, seeking an interim relief restraining the two together with three others from travelling overseas, was taken up yesterday (14).

The Motion was heard before Supreme Court five-Judge-Bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Priyantha Jayawardena, Vijith Malalgoda and L.T.B. Dehideniya.

Previously, Fundamental Rights (FR) Petitions were filed by TSIL, Chandra Jayaratne, Jehan CanagaRetna and Julian Bolling in the public interest seeking action against those responsible for the current economic crisis. Following consideration, the case was fixed for support on 27 July.

However the Petitioners on Monday (11), following the incidents on 9 July and the assurance given by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that he would resign, filed a Motion requesting Court to provide an urgent date to support the Petition.

In pursuant to the Petition, the Motion sought a restraining order against former Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, former Governors of the Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Prof. W.D. Lakshman and former Secretary of the Treasury S.R. Attygala from travelling abroad without the approval of the Court until investigations into the factors leading to the current economic crisis are investigated into.

It was stated that unless an investigation is conducted, the citizens would not be in a position to ascertain the reasons for the economic crisis and take remedial actions so that it would not be repeated.

The Petitioners noted that they have been reliably informed that certain respondents may leave the country and thereby avoid giving information preventing investigations and the determination of liability.

It was stated that respondents named in the petition are directly responsible for the unsustainability of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt, its hard default on foreign loan repayments and the current state of the economy of Sri Lanka.

They thereby called for the respondents to be held accountable for their illegal, arbitrary and unreasonable acts or omissions which culminated in the current economic crisis.

Accordingly, the Motion was taken up for consideration yesterday (14) and the Counsel appearing on behalf of Basil Rajapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Attygala gave an undertaking that they will not leave the country until midday today (15), when the case will be taken up again.

Further the Counsel appearing on behalf of Cabraal informed Court that his client will not leave the country without the permission of the Supreme Court, while noting that he already has two Court orders restraining him from overseas travel.

By Faadhila Thassim